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News from the Good Food Project

Growing Cucumbers

Cucumbers thrive when the weather is hot and water is plentiful. Growing cucumbers is for warmer weather. Cucumber plants grow in two forms: vining and bush. Vines scramble along the ground or clamber up trellises, while bush types form a more compact plant. General, vining cucumbers yield more fruit throughout the growing season. Bush varieties can be increased by planting several crops in succession 2 weeks apart. Whether you want a cucumber for slicing or pickling, there's a variety to suit anyone's taste. Cucumbers need warm, fertile soil. If possible trellis those scrambling vines. This keeps the fruit clean and saves space. Wire is easy for the tendrils of climbing cucumbers to grab as the plant grows. Cucumbers grow fast and don't demand a lot of care. The soil must remain consistently moist with an inch of water per week. Inadequate or inconsistent moisture causes oddly shaped or poor-tasting fruit. If possible, water the cucumbers with a soaker hose or drip irrigation to keep foliage dry. The will help prevent leaf diseases that can ruin the plant.

You can pick cucumbers whenever they're big enough to use. Check the vines daily as the fruit starts to appear because they enlarge quickly. Vines produce more fruit the more you harvest. To remove, the fruit, use a knife or clippers, cutting the stem above the fruit. Pulling them may damage the vine.

Don't let the cucumbers get oversized or they will be bitter, and will also keep the vine from producing more. Yellowing at the bottom (blossom end) of a cucumber signals over ripeness; remove the fruit immediately., Harvest lemon cucumbers just before they begin turning yellow. Although they are called lemon cucumber because the little oblong or round fruits turn yellow and look like a lemon, by the time the fruit turns yellow it may be a little too seedy for most tastes.

You can keep harvested cucumbers in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days, but use the as soon as possible after picking for best flavor. Happy Gardening!

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